Pregnancy-related constipation — causes and tips for relief

Constipation is a common discomfort during pregnancy. This is due to your body’s natural process of slowing down the movement of food through your digestive tract to help make sure your body extracts as many nutrients as possible from the food you eat. In addition, your iron intake, which should increase during pregnancy, also might contribute to constipation. To alleviate symptoms of constipation during pregnancy:

1. Drink plenty of water — 10 8-oz cups a day.

2. Slowly increase the fiber in your diet. Aim for 28 g of daily fiber by eating foods such as:

a) Beans, which offer 3 g to 6 g of fiber per serving (Garbanzo beans offer 6 g of fiber per serving).
b) Vegetables, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and carrots, which offer 2 g to 4 g per serving
c) Fruits such as pears, figs, strawberries, apples, bananas, and oranges, which provide 2 g to 4 g per serving
d) Whole grains from breads, brown rice, and pasta that provide 1 g to 3 g of fiber per serving.
e) Cereals and oatmeal that provide 3 g to 8 g of fiber per serving (100% bran gives you 8 grams of fiber per serving).

3. Exercise at least 30 minutes every day to stimulate your digestive tract and promote regular bowel movement.

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